She Who Tells a Story

Made by Jan Martinez

Reflecting on stories and their medium

Created: October 2nd, 2015



As soon as I walked into the exhibit for She Who Tells a Story, I felt the weight of the artwork that was displayed. A lot of the works of art dealt with issues surrounding oppression, especially of women and girls. One of the most impactful, in my opinion, was Mother, Daughter, Doll Series by Boushra Almutawakel. It clearly showed how more and more extremist many countries are becoming in their pursuit to suppress and subdue women, making them less human.


Still, in an effort to keep this relatively light-hearted, I decided to go with another series I particularly enjoyed. I will be exploring A Girl and Her Room by Rania Matar. It was a piece that immediately stuck out to me, and became one of my favourites in the exhibition. It is a relatively “simple” series: photos of teenage girls/young female adults in their bedrooms.

I enjoyed what Matar was trying to convey, and I feel that it was one of those works of art where I understood right away what the intentions behind the artist were. Every girl’s sense of style and individuality shone through their decoration, and yet they all felt similar. It was interesting to see how individual culture mixed with universal themes. They were all girls. Growing up. Discovering the world. Trying to find their place. They were just like me. Just like my friends and family. Just like all of us. Different, and yet so similar.

(Because I think it's not nice to take pictures in museums, I looked up the photographs online. The pieces below are, if memory serves, the selection shown in the exhibit. Credit where credit is due:


Experience and Response

We’re all the same, we’re all people. I am struck by how people of different cultures are so similar. It’s something that I have been thinking about recently, how we’re all just people. We all have our own stories, our own influences, our own goals, hopes, fears, loves… And yet, all of these things that make us individual people are also what make us human. We’re human because we feel, we love, we hate, we cry. Some of us like movies, some like books. Some like tight jeans, some like sweatpants. Some like landscape photography, some like abstract art. Some like k-pop, some like american bluegrass.

And we share all of this, in our own little world. A pale blue dot full of 7.3 billion individual worlds, and counting.



This series really resonated with me, and I immediately wanted to do something similar. There is one caveat: I'm not of the female variety. As much as the egalitarian in me thought it wouldn't matter, it kind of does. I'm a guy, so I shouldn't be a part of the series, technically. Instead, I just took a picture of my bedroom and let it speak for itself. There was some minor touch ups here and there, but it's mostly just the picture. What does it say about me as a person?



What have I done? Not much, it sometimes feels like. I'm definitely no professional photographer, and there isn't enough space in my bedroom to capture a more complete picture of it. Still, it gets the message across. Or a message across. I wish I did it a little more "professionally" and even be in it. But maybe it's best that I'm not in it. Maybe I should've taken pictures of other people's bedrooms with them in it. I don't know. What I do know is that I made this and now I move on. And that's life: moving on from one thing to another.

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Reflecting on stories and their medium